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The secretary of homeland security, working with myself and my staff,
will begin immediate construction of a border wall.
Donald Trump paves the way to drastically reduce America's
involvement in the United Nations, as he signs off on his giant
What signals is the President sending out about fortress America?
I'll ask the former Mexican ambassador to the US.
Also tonight, Britain promised Hong Kong it would help
preserve its political freedoms in law.
We fear the midnight knock at our door.
We are no longer even safe in our own beds.
We may be in Hong Kong, we may have broken no Hong
Kong law, but we can still be made to disappear from Hong Kong soil.
Nearly 20 years on from the handover to China,
democracy looks increasingly fragile.
Have we let down the people of that former territory?
We speak to Hong Kong's last Governor, Chris Patten.
It puzzles me that you think yourself qualified to attack me,
given that I have 30 years experience in the archives
and my books have been published by some of the greatest publishing
A new film - Denial - tells us how Holocaust denier
David Irvine tried to sue a historian in the High Court.
I ask the scriptwriter David Hare about lies and libel
Shortly after 2:30am, President Trump alerted the world
that it was a big day for national security and that he was
The wall - one of the most memorable pledges of his campaign trail -
will be constructed along the border with Mexico, aimed at fulfilling his
pledge to crack down on both illegal immigration and the flow
The efficiency - possibility even - of a 2,000-mile barrier has raised
eyebrows and is hotly debated, even within Trump's own cabinet.
His Homeland Security advisor - retired General John Kelly -
said it could only be effective to the extent it was backed up
by far more sweeping measures, including more manpower and good
relations with those south of the border.
It'll cost up to ?20 billion - money Trump insists will be
How unique is this attempt at a fortress?
Donald Trump continues to lay the foundation stones of his presidency,
signing executive orders on issues like rolling back Obamacare, a
freeze on government hiring and withdrawing from trade deals. Today
he signed an order to deliver perhaps his most famous campaign
pledge. We will build a great wall along the southern border. And
Mexico will pay for the wall. 100%. For those who thought this was
merely a clap line for the Trump stump, today President Trump
confirmed he was totally serious. Is secretary of homeland security,
working with myself and my staff, will begin immediate construction of
a border wall. APPLAUSE
The United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets
back its borders. Can we go ahead? But, as previous presidents have
found, it is one thing to sign and seal and another to deliver. On his
second full day in office, President Obama ordered the closing of
Guantanamo Bay. But it stubbornly outlasted even his second term in
office. His plans were locked up by an uncooperative Congress. So might
Donald Trump's wall meet similar obstacles? Its obstacle is literary,
build a wall. There are a lot of nuts and bolts in the process. First
of all, the money has to be appropriated, it has to go to
Congress, and Verdi is the question of what the physical wall looks
like. If some of it fencing, and is some of it a virtual wall? Today was
basically a message that they are serious about doing something wall
related. But there are of course already extensive physical barriers
on the US- Mexican border but they have been placed where people might
try to cross. Previous administrations have seen little
point in adding to extensively to the natural border provided by an
inhabitable desert. Most undocumented immigrants come in
through other means, student visas or work visas or tourist and they
overstay. This isn't an issue where vast numbers of people are
physically crossing the border in an undocumented sense. There are some,
of course, but the majority come to the US for other means and the wall
does not prevent that. And then there is the second part of the
promise, the funding. Remember I said, Mexico is paying. But how?
That was what Mr Trump was asked in his first sit down interview as
president. We will be starting those negotiations with Mexico relatively
soon and we will be in a form reimbursed. They will pay us back?
100%. The American taxpayer will pay at first? We will be reimbursed at a
later date from whatever transaction we make. The Mexican president said
recently that Mexico will not pay and those against their dignity as a
country and as Mexicans. I think he has to say that. He has to say that.
And he may say that to Mr Trump's face when the president visits
Washington next week, that is if the Mexican president doesn't cancel the
visit altogether, as some unconfirmed reports have suggested.
So which stones will the president add to his policy edifice next?
After signing today's executive orders, the New York Times tonight
reports that two new orders are being prepared, limiting US
involvement in the UN and other international bodies. But Mr Trump
will know that politics is about creating alliances, persuading
people and, yes, doing deals, and even presidents sometimes struggle
to get what they want. So is the wall an obvious solution
that fails to address any of the real problems,
or is this the right starting point for a country acknowledging
its immigration problem? Joining me now, Arturo Sarukhan,
former Mexican Ambassador This was clearly no empty threat,
then. This is actually being built. Well, we don't know exactly what's
going to be built. If we take Donald Trump, President Trump at face
value, and I think we should after 18 months of campaign and these
first days of the administration, there may be some form of brick and
mortar wall that goes up, but again this is a decision that will do very
little to alter the reality either of how undocumented immigration is
coming into and staying in the US, or fundamentally alter some of the
underpinnings of US national security and how you can guarantee
that in the 21st century. Is your sense that President Nieto should
cancel his planned trip next week? I think it will be very hard for him
to come up next week, as was envisaged, in part because you still
don't have a US administration that has its cabinet members confirmed
and, given that Mexico has said it will put every single issue of the
bilateral agenda on the table, that means engaging with every single
agency at the department of Washington, DC, it's going to be
hard to come and discuss a full agenda when you don't have the
counterparts across the table because there are still to be
confirmed by the sudden Sennett. But, because of this decision today,
which could be construed by many ambush, while high-level Mexican
officials are in town, starting those conversations leading up to
the visit, but if this is going to be the way policy is put forward in
terms of my way or the highway, it may make sense for the president to
postpone and come back at a better time. Can you have decent relations
now between Mexico and the US? Donald Trump said this evening that
Mexico's economic future is important to the US, and John Kelly,
his homeland adviser, said that the relations were imperative. Can those
two countries still have them? Absolutely, these two countries are
joined at the hip. They have to succeed together. Failure for one
means failure for the other. We have $1.4 billion of trade going across
the border every day and 35 million Mexican-Americans in the US. We have
1.2 million Americans living in Mexico and it is imperative that
both countries continue to build what we've been doing for the past
20 years. You say that as if that is the perfect solution, but what we
are hearing tonight is that Donald Trump has put Nafta on the agenda,
the agenda. If he pulls out of that, the Mexican economy is sunk, isn't
it? It's not sunk, but it will be dramatically impacted, but so will
the US economy. There are 6 million US jobs depending directly on trade
with Mexico, so if you are a president that has run on an agenda
of bringing back jobs to America, if you destroy Nafta, you destroy 6
million US jobs in a brushstroke. So, when Donald Trump says that
Mexico will reimburse him for the building of this wall, he is 100%
certain, he said this evening, is there truth in that? Would Mexico
pay money or, I don't know, continued membership of the US in
Nafta? Is there a deal to be done whereby you do pay for the wall? I
don't think that is on the table. I think Mexico and the US have done
and can continue to do great things together, but one thing I don't
think they are going to do is build a wall. There are of course measures
the president could take on remittances, tariffs and trade, but
I don't think he will see Mexican monies from the Mexican Treasury
coming across the border to pay for the wall. Thank you for joining us.
Joining me now, Max Fisher, Analyst at the New York Times who's
breaking the story tonight about the moves Trump is making
to minimize the US role in the United Nations.
This is something that would affect us all, of course. Just explain what
you are hearing. There two executive orders that are in draft form that
are circulating the White House now, and they are currently planning to
sign them in the end of the week. The first would review a huge subset
of multilateral treaties that the United States is currently engaged
in. It's not clear which treaties they have in mind, but it sure looks
like it opens up planet and environmental agreements currently
in force to be abrogated. The second and in some ways bigger one is
reviewing funding for the United Nations, and this draft executive
order, if signed, would do two things. It would terminate any US
funding for any UN agency that needs a subset of conditions, any support
for abortion programmes, there are a few rules that are very vague,
something about it including help for countries that opposed the
United States, and they would cut funding, not sure what that means.
Once they have done that, the order would mandate a 40% cut in all US
funding towards the United Nations, any UN agency or any other
international organisations, which would amount to billions of dollars.
It's not clear where that cut would come from, but the order singled out
peacekeeping, which is very concerning because the US holds a
huge amount of international peacekeeping, and a few other items.
Reading between the lines, because your report suggests a lot of it
would be auditing and reducing, terminating funding for any
organisation controlled or influenced by any state which
sponsors terrorism, a lot of this would sound quite sensible at first
glance, cutting down on waste to a bloated organisation. You think it's
more than that? And you have to remember that a really big amount of
US funding to UN doesn't go to stay closed or red pens out towards
peacekeeping operations. The US funds about 27% of the UN's
peacekeeping operations, a lot of aid to refugees. These programmes
are already stretched thin. There are currently peacekeeping
operations in 16 countries. If the US cuts almost half its funding for
those, the operations won't go away, but it has pretty significant
ramifications for the people living in those countries, Mali, Cyprus,
Lebanon, places which are not really a great position to have a bunch of
UN leave suddenly because the United States no longer wants to be part of
the United Nations as fully. Do we know if the Paris climate change
deal is in jeopardy, and do we know which parts of the organisations
would specifically be hit by the cut? On the treaties, the executive
order is very short, about a page and a half, but the subset of
multilateral treaties that it is targeting, which is anything
unrelated to extradition, directly related to trade or national
security, would be reviewed, and this commission they are setting up
would have to look at it and say, yes, we want to continue or not
continue. One of the biggest ones that would be in the cross hairs
would be the Paris climate agreement, which President Trump has
signalled a lot of scepticism of, and it's not unreasonable to suspect
he would use this as a mechanism to withdraw from it. The agencies, we
don't know. Technically, what this is setting up is a panel which will
recommend cuts, figuring out where we should cut, but it also makes
some suggestions for the one big one is peacekeeping. Another one of
these suggested cuts, oddly, if the international criminal court, which
is strange because the United States doesn't provide funding to that.
Thank you for joining us appreciate you.
Tomorrow, Theresa May heads to Washington,
the first foreign leader to hold meetings with the new US President.
The two could not be more different - in temperament,
in character, and possibly in their priorities too.
Our political editor Nick Watt is here.
First what you are hearing on this side of the Atlantic about those
alterations to the US - UN relationship now and funding. There
were audible gasps of breath in Whitehall and Parliament when the
report flashed up on the US website. One senior Tory said to me, oh my
God, it makes Putin looked like a pussycat. There is a feeling that
were these executive orders to be enacted they could severely
undermine the UN. My senior Tory said the timings of this report is
particularly unfortunate for Theresa May because as you say she flies to
the US in the morning to seek Donald Trump. The senior Tory said to me,
"It's a reality check, she needs to calling people who know what they
are doing. " There is a feeling Theresa May has planned this trip
very tightly. I've heard from sources close to Cabinet ministers
she hasn't really been consulting cabinet colleagues and some voices
have been wondering whether it is wise to rush over that quickly.
How is she preparing, handling the trip?
Theresa May hopes when she becomes the first world leader to meet
Donald Trump in the White House within a week of his inauguration
she will be laying the ground for a very constructive relationship. She
will be talking about renewing the special relationship for this new
age and as a sign of that constructive relationship she will
be handing Donald Trump a kick, sorry, a quake, an ancient Scottish
artefacts. There is on our screen. An ancient Scottish cup designed to
signal friendship. She hopes that will lead to a good friendship. Some
of the language she will dues when she is in the US will take on
renewed significance in light of that New York Times report. She will
essentially make a plea for multilateral organisations, when she
says the institutions upon which the world relies were so often conceived
or inspired by our two nations working together.
And she will talk about deepening defence cooperation through Nato.
These are perhaps brave words, because obviously Donald Trump told
Michael Gove in that interview recently that Nato was obsolete.
Although, to be fair to the president, did Nato was important to
him and appeared to be suggesting it is wrongly configured to tackle
terrorism. We thought on the eve of this meeting on Thursday between
this and likely pairing of Donald Trump and Theresa May we would find
them helpful words of advice for the Prime Minister. Here is our film.
It's absolutely vital to stress that Britain doesn't want to have to
choose between its very special relationship with the United States
and its very significant relationship with China. And in that
context, the most important and biggest threat to everyone's
prosperity is climate change, which cannot be resolved without
cooperation and in particular cooperation with China for its also,
I think, really important to point out that China understands something
which is very important about the economy and the energies and the
technologies of the future, which is that they are not based on oil and
gas, they are renewable, low-carbon, clean, green and efficient.
China understands that. The United States ought to be innovating and
competing on that front, not trying to turn the clock back.
America's greatness stems from its allies, no country in the history of
the world has had more allies or use them to better effect on Trump
tragically doesn't get that. The most important thing for Theresa May
to get across is to say that the allies really matter, not just
Britain, because Trump seems to have clocked that, but European allies.
These are countries that believe in American greatness and he can work
with them in a way you cannot work with someone like Vladimir Putin,
who doesn't believe in American greatness.
My advice would be to represent the best interests of Britain, make sure
the United Kingdom comes first in any negotiations that you're having.
He's a very nice guy. He understands the national interests very well. He
would never expect you to kowtow to the United States, and nor by the
way would anybody around him. I think that's the vibe I'm getting
out on the street here, too. Having said that, diplomacy is obviously
primary and very, very important in these situations. There will be a
lot of pressure to say things about what happened during the campaign
trail, especially on the back of last 'sprotest. I would still steer
clear from it, stick to policy and start forging a relationship of two
nations that can lead to the world again.
It's a very tricky situation. You're dealing with someone who is a bully
and who is very fragile underneath, because most bullies are. You need
to be as robust as you can, and not by the romance that he has already
proposed, which I think is the way to diminish you. And to find a way
to represent yourself as a leader of an important country in the world.
Two words, trade deal. That's all really she has to worry about. Right
now he needs to prove to his friends in Washington that he is capable of
cutting a deal with countries as well as tearing up trade deals. He
said he does in my multilateral deals, wants to do one-on-one. Along
comes Britain. We are leaving the EU at exactly the time you need the
deal politically as much as we need one economic clue. This is a window
of opportunity that might last forever. We don't know a lot how
long he will be president for or how long Republicans will control
Congress for, but for these two years, perhaps shorter, there is a
chance for Theresa May to walk away with the best possible price after
Brexit, a free-trade deal with the biggest and most successful economy
on earth. Be nice, be constructive, but don't
pander and try to get him to understand his importance in meeting
are these big global challenges and get him to the words Nato is good.
Some advice there. Before Theresa May heads off this
has been a big Brexit week. Tomorrow we will see the wording of the
Parliamentary builder makes sure the government complies with the Supreme
Court then make sure its parliament and not government that triggers
those Brexit negotiations. It is interesting. We will see how tightly
worded that Dell is and how easy or difficult it will be for MPs and
latterly peers to amend that bill. But the government has cleared its
Commons business next week and they are pretty confident it will
complete its common stage by February the 9th, when the House of
Commons rises for a mini recess and then it over to the House of Lords.
Interestingly we will get that bill after something of a U-turn from
Theresa May when she announced at Prime Minister's Questions earlier
today she would after all publish a white paper, setting out the
framework for her negotiations. But the government is saying we will
have to wait a little bit of time for that White paper because it is
separate from the bill. The bill is about triggering negotiations. The
White Paper is about the framework for the negotiations. Nick, thank
you. The Hong Kong Handover
will see its 20 year anniversary this year -
marking the moment in 1997 when the territory was returned
from British to Chinese rule. To address the huge fears that
Hong Kong's political and economic freedoms would be undermined
by Communist China, those liberties The so-called Joint Declaration
committed both countries to an understanding that it was
One Country, Two Systems. But how much has either country
stuck to its promise The Umbrella Protests two years ago
brought a new generation But no new steps
towards real democracy. Has Britain chosen to prioritize
trade over probity? We ask the last Governor
of Hong Kong, Chris Patten. There has been racing in Hong Kong
Jockey Club for almost as long Deng Xiaoping once promised that,
after the handover, horse racing would continue and dance parties
would go on. His promise was kept here,
but other promises made 20 years ago The fault lines that brought tens
of thousands onto the streets two There are now more radical
voices on both sides, and those fighting for the freedoms
that set Hong Kong apart from the rest of China feel
increasingly abandoned. Unfortunately, the rest
of the world, particularly Great Britain, would rather pretend
not to see what is going on, and I'm afraid that,
if they continue to ignore the steady erosion, then
by the time they wake up to the fact that One Country,
Two Systems exists only in name, One Country, Two Systems
is the deal agreed between For 50 years after 1997,
Hong Kong is guaranteed what the rest of China can't have -
free speech, free press and an independent justice system,
and a partially elected assembly. Now Hong Kong people
are to run Hong Kong. That is the promise,
and that is the unshakeable destiny. For many, that promise
now feels hollow. Kevin Lau thinks a free press
is threatened by intimidation of journalists and media owners
who are sympathetic to China or afraid to lose
advertising revenue. So he started an independent,
crowd-funded news site. Now is the time, because Hong Kong
media is facing such He was the editor of a newspaper
that looked into mainland business, including offshore holdings
by the Chinese leadership. In 2014, he was attacked
on the street by two He was hospitalised for five months
and struggles to walk today. The fact that an innocent journalist
was brutally attacked by violence is a threat to press freedom
in Hong Kong, because it sends chilling signals
to working journalists. Press freedom has been
nowhere in the past. I'm not sure whether it
will continue in the future. The threat to free speech
is made clear in the case They peddled gossipy publications
about the Beijing leadership. Then, in 2015, all five disappeared
- only to reappear in Chinese One, a British citizen, Lee Bo,
may have been kidnapped Another, Lam Wing-kei, was detained
as he crossed the border. TRANSLATION: I was visiting my
girlfriend in the mainland and I was stopped by two officials
at the border. They took me to a police van
where there were dozens Then I was taken to the police
station in Shenzhen, where I was held in the prisoners'
compound and interrogated. Mr Lam was released after eight
months, on the condition that he handed over a hard disk
containing information on their customers,
which he says he hasn't done. TRANSLATION: I believe there
are people who are watching me, My main worry is that they will
kidnap me and take me You have the abduction
of the four publishers, the exercise of extrajudicial powers
on Hong Kong soil, which makes us all wonder, should we fear
the midnight knock at our door? We are no longer even
safe in our own beds. We may be in Hong Kong,
we may have broken no Hong Kong law, but we can still be made
to disappear from Hong Kong soil. Anson Chan is one of Hong Kong's
most respected leaders. She was Chris Patten's number two
and held several of the most senior She accuses China of attacking
the One Country, Two Systems agreement and Britain of doing
nothing to protect it. You put your signature to the joint
declaration and you handed over 7 million people
to what is still a totalitarian state, on the basis
of those promises. Do you think the British government
simply isn't brave enough I think Great Britain feels
that its first and best interest lies in trading with China,
and they don't much care whether they trade
with China on any terms. A new generation has emerged
since the Umbrella Protest in 2014, caused by Beijing's decision to vet
the short list for the Students Joshua Wong, then just 17,
and Nathan Law, 20, were two Beijing never backed down,
but this seems to push more The students now lead
their own political party, campaigning here about treatment
by the police and pushing In 2017, I believe there will be
more demonstrations and protests, especially under the interference
of Beijing government. This just proves the failure
of One Country, Two Systems. A lot of people after the movement
feel frustrated and upset because there was no true democracy
in Hong Kong after the movement, so more or less the goal
of the movement failed. Maybe we lost a battle,
but we will win the war. In elections in September,
pro-democrats experienced Nathan Law was elected
to the legislative council, but pro-Beijing forces are trying
to use the court to This new generation of activists
is challenging Beijing on many fronts, building a pro-democracy
network across east Asia. But watch what happened when they
returned from a trip to Taiwan. A pro-Beijing mob attacked
Nathan as he arrived The Communist Party
is behind all these things. They tried to stigmatise
all the Democrats and then try to mobilise these patriotic mobs
to personally attack each of us. We messaged one of the leaders
of the protest on WeChat. When we told him we were from
the BBC, he ended the conversation. But we did find out
that he is the head of a tour guide union that works
with visitors from China. And the role of unions,
trade associations and executive boards in extending China's
influence in Hong Kong is crucial. Many people here have told us that,
from transport unions to school boards, the university councils,
pro-Beijing voices are It affects the way everyday
decisions are made in major The infrastructure and economic ties
that bind are growing stronger. This is the new bridge that
will span the Pearl River delta, And there are many in
Hong Kong who do support Holden Chow represents the biggest
party in the legislative council. I would say you can't simply bring
everything to Beijing. Under that One Country,
Two Systems we are running, we do need back-up from the central
government, as we have a lot of economic activities and close
ties with the mainland. There has always
been tension between pro-democrats and pro-Beijingers,
but is there now a third position? Yao Wei-ching and Baggio Leung
are separatists, arguing They were excluded from the chamber
for using offensive language. This was the response
from pro-Beijingers The separatists have only limited
support so far, but they think All those applications that I can
use in this phone has been hacked. They are taking us to a town where
they say most are from the mainland. They believe that high levels
of immigration are deliberate policy You can see that it is no
longer part of Hong Kong, This is something
like a city in China. I think that most of
the Hong Kongers don't want to see Support for independence is not
widely held, but it represents a radical shift in tone,
partly because the goals of the Umbrella Movement
have been frustrated. If the One Country, Two Systems
cannot protect Hong Kong people from the control, the next
step is to separate from China. In Happy Valley, they pride
themselves on being Tonight, over 100 million US
dollars will be bet, But those who fight to keep
Hong Kong free from Beijing's control feel increasingly
on their own. Earlier I spoke to the man you saw
in that film, Lord Patten, I asked him if he agreed
with his former number two there, Anson Chan, that the world,
and Britain in particular, were being wilfully blind,
ignoring the erosion of human rights I think the point that Anson
makes is a very good one. She's one of the most remarkable
people I've ever worked with, and I would be very loathe to ever
disagree with her. My worry is related to that,
which is I wonder what's happened to our sense of honour and our sense
of responsibility, particularly in Britain,
it's above all a British question. We signed the joint declaration
with China, it's a treaty at the UN, it's supposed to commit us
to standing up for Hong Kong's You don't get much sense of British
governments actually standing over those promises and obligations,
and I think that's a great pity, and it's all for derisory,
ludicrous reasons. The argument, which is I suspect
going to be tested quite a bit in the next few months,
the argument that the only way you can do trade with China
is by kowtowing to China on political issues is drivel,
it's complete nonsense. You once called it the unshakeable
destiny of Hong Kong people Does it still feel
unshakeable to you? Yes, because I think
at the end of the day, I think the values, the attributes
which make Hong Kong I think that Communism,
whatever that is, Leninism with capitalist characteristics,
is not a long runner. I think the rule of law,
I think freedom of speech, I think freedom of worship,
I think all the freedoms you associate with a plural society
are long-term winners - not just in everywhere else
in the world, but in Asia as well. So is Anson Chan going too far
when she says you put your signature to the joint declaration,
you hand over 7 million people to what is still
a totalitarian state, The British government isn't
being brave enough to stand up? I think the British government would
be well advised to prove her wrong, because I think it would be
dishonourable not to do so. I worry about now people
are prepared to sell our honour for alleged trade deals,
which never actually happen. I think that would be
calamitous, and what do we represent in the world,
if that's what happens? In what sense would the next
generation of leaders in Hong Kong, who will be, sooner or later,
democratically chosen, in what sense would they feel any
special relationship to the United Kingdom,
if that's how we behave? Look, I feel very strongly
that we let down the parents of this I think it would be a tragedy
if we let down these kids as well. I meant by the last ten
or 15 years of British responsibility in Hong Kong,
I think we should have done more We did a certain amount,
but I don't think we did enough and I think if Hong Kong had had
another five or ten years' experience of democracy it
would have been much more difficult for the Chinese authorities to have
rolled it back, as they have done. We're now almost 20 years
since the handover and we're still arguing about whether or not,
in effect, Beijing should decide who runs Hong Kong
or whether the people We asked the Chinese ambassador
to come on, but he declined. The British Foreign
Office told us that they believe that One Country,
Two Systems continues to be the best arrangement for Hong Kong's
long term stability and prosperity, "We hope and expect that
One Country, Two Systems will be respected and successful long
into the future." The Holocaust denier David Irving
rose to prominence as a historian who refused to believe
in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and the systemic
extermination of Jews In 1996, he brought a case
against Penguin Books and the American historian
Deborah Lipstadt - accusing her The case has now been made
into a major film - Denial - In a moment we will speak
to its scriptwriter David Hare, and ask what it tells us about lies,
libel and disinformation First, a clip of the film
showing Rachel Weisz, who plays Deborah Lipstadst,
the accused writer. Some people are saying
that the result of this trial On the contrary, I've been
defending it against someone Freedom of speech means you can
say whatever you want. What you can't do is lie and then
expect not to be accountable for it. Not all opinions are equal,
and some things happen, The Earth is round, the ice caps
are melting and Elvis is not alive. Just before coming on air
I spoke to David Hare. I asked him whether that clip was at
the crux of what the film was trying to say.
Well that was the reason that I wanted to write the film, really,
because there's a sort of view at the moment that
As if it's an argument to be able to say, "Well that's my opinion".
And so you say something and then somebody says something else
and obviously this has been encouraged by the Internet,
this idea that you can just assert things and it is a false kind
of democracy to say that everybody's opinions are equal.
Those opinions that are backed up by fact and provable fact
are superior to the opinions of those that are not
That's really what I wanted to write about.
That trial at the time pretty much killed Irving's reputation,
from what I remember, he was never taken seriously again.
But I wonder if you think, in this age, he would still thrive,
that we have become more accepting of untruth?
Personally, I don't think the Internet is
I think that at the time, he walked into a trap.
You know, it was his idea to bring the lawsuit.
It was always felt, people kept accidentally calling
Deborah Lipstadst the prosecution, but she wasn't the prosecution,
He chose to take it to court, and he did that thinking
that his deliberate mis-manipulation of the truth would not
be revealed in court, but by a rather wonderful process,
thanks to Anthony Julius, the solicitor, and Richard Rampton,
the brilliant Counsel, they actually proved not
just that he was lying but they also managed
This was in the 90s, in a pre-Twitter age.
I think it was Hugo Rifkind who wrote this week,
When we stop concentrating, this is when we understand the world.
If enough people behold a thing it becomes true."
Do you sense that is what we are entering now?
You know, I'm a little bit resistant to all this.
In other words, you know, people are saying that
Donald Trump is a liar, and clearly he is a liar.
But there have been a whole series of American presidents who have said
Nixon wasn't overly fond of the truth.
Reagan claimed to know nothing about Iran-Contra,
he claimed not to know America was financing terrorism
You know, lying in politics is not a new things.
The majority of presidents, let's say, have told a lie in office.
Is there a difference, though, if the media,
if broadcasters know at the time that something is a lie,
should they strive for balance or should they call it out as a lie?
I think they have to call it out as a lie.
Look, what was unusual about Irving was that he claimed
that the mistakes he had made in the book Hitler's War,
and historians working for the defence found 25 mistakes
of fact in the book, but they all tended one way.
In other words, and what Richard Rampton was able to do,
was to prove that there was a motivation for
You know, some historians got upset and said no book can survive
The answer of the defence was - no, no, no, all historians make
mistakes, but if all their mistakes head in one direction, and that
direction is the exoneration of Adolf Hitler for the death
of the Jews, then you have to say that they aren't mistakes,
And that's what was so brilliant about a trial.
In getting back to the film and the way that portrays the trial,
it's very much that passion versus, if you like, rationality.
American versus British, you have these rather buttoned up
British lawyers and the American academic, who wants to do it
with her heart and they want to do it with logic.
Was that pretty much how the trial itself was,
or is that something you wanted to bring into the script?
Deborah Lipstadst was forced not to give evidence.
Not only was she not allowed to give evidence by her own defence team,
but also the survivors of the camps were not allowed to give evidence.
I think I have a line where Richard Rampton says,
"What feels best, isn't what works best".
And so films about the difference between self-righteous
And would you take that into the political sphere now?
Clearly Hillary Clinton lost against Donald Trump because she has
We leave you with the work of the bad lip reading YouTube
channel, who watched the inauguration on some
Together we will build a bar in rural Connecticut,
and we will make it a bar with a nanny, and we will make it
a bar called Brown Lady, and we will make it a bar that has
# When you want to make a bad day a greater day
Good evening. More fog tonight, mostly on the hills, and ice will be
a real concern with freezing drizzle and snow on widely subzero surfaces.